TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -The state Legislature ignored the Florida Marlins' bid for a $60 million state subsidy to help build a new ballpark, the sixth time the baseball team was failed to secure the money since 2000.
For the second straight year, the proposal got halfway home. It cleared the House last week but failed Friday - the last day of the annual 60-day session - in the Senate. In 2006, it passed the Senate but sank in the final seconds in the House.
The latest setback came despite the backing of new Gov. Charlie Crist, a sports enthusiast who believes professional sports provide good economic anchors. Crist's first job after law school was as an attorney for minor league baseball.
``I have a warm spot in my heart for baseball, so I think we ought to keep trying,'' said Crist. He wouldn't rule out adding the issue to next month's special 10-day session on property taxes.
The Senate had little appetite for siphoning millions of taxpayer dollars to a sports franchise in the same session when lawmakers couldn't find money to expand a low-cost health insurance program for thousands of Florida children.
The team, City of Miami and Miami-Dade County have committed to paying $460 million of the $490 million project. The remaining $30 million would have come from bonds backed by the $60 million in state money.
Marlins' spokesman P.J. Loyello said team officials had no comment.
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz said he was disappointed but would not give up trying to keep the team in South Florida. He said the city may look to local resources to fund the project without a state contribution.
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